PRISM Sponsored Summer GRE Course

Mark Your Calendars for PRISM-Sponsored GRE Prep Course

All junior and senior level students with plans to attend graduate school are expected to sign up for and attend Dr. Pilette’s summer GRE Prep Course.  It will run mid-June through July on Fridays at John Jay.  This is an amazing opportunity for you to receive expert test prep guidance at no cost to you.  This is a full course with the preparation book also provided to you at no cost.  You can sign up by emailing Dr. Pilette at rpilette@jjay.cuny.edu.  Anyone interested but with a schedule conflict should contact Dr. Pilette to discuss potential alternative arrangements.  Sign up ASAP before seats fill up.

PRISM Attends ASBMB Experimental Biology Conference in Boston, MA

PRISM Attends the ASBMB Experimental Biology Conference in Boston, MA

with signThe ASBMB Experimental Biology (EB) conference is one of the biggest annual biology-based conferences in the country and this year it took place from March 28-April 1 in Boston, MA.  The presentation categories were varied, including such topics as DNA replication studies and cancer genetics. Along with presenters and students, vendors from all around the country set up booths to advertise their cutting-edge instrumentation and kits.  In addition to lectures, vendors, and presentations, this conference offers interactive seminars on such topics as “how to write your resume” and “how to effectively apply for graduate schools.”

This year, PRISM sent two members with mentor, Prof. Artem Domashevskiy, to the EB Conference.  Valentina Aitbakieva presented a poster on her work, “Isolation and Characterization of Different Isoforms of Pokeweed Antiviral Protein (PAP) from Phytolacca americana,”  and David Rodriguez presented a poster on his work, “Studying Interactions Between Pokeweed Antiviral Protein (PAP) and Fluorescently Labeled Tobacco Etch Virus RNA.”  PRISM was also able to send an additional 3 students this year, Karen Conrad, Porfirio Fernandez, and Derek Sokolowski as conference participants even though they did not present their work.

David Rodriguez is a junior student in the PRISM program and this was his first experience presenting at a professional conference.  Below is his account:

Dom and Rod“It was an intimidating experience but an absolute pleasure to attend and present at the 2015 Experimental Biology conference in Boston. The scale of the conference could be felt immediately by the sheer number of people just waiting to get their name badges.  This feeling was amplified further when I entered the grand hall where most of the conference was held. Though a little nervous, my colleagues and I dove right in. We spent the several days talking to other students, top scientists, and vendors from all over the country. One of the most inspiring things I noticed was the variety of research going on. The amount of imagination and intelligence that went into some of the research I learned about is nothing short of amazing. I spent the last day of my visit presenting my own research. I had never presented my research to this point, and I was nervous about my first time being at such a huge conference with so many brilliant people who specialize in biology. Luckily I had been preparing with the help of my mentor, friends, and PRISM. Though nervous. I concentrated and presented my research to quite a few very knowledgeable people. When it was all over, I felt a great sense of accomplishment and was actually excited to present my research and interact with interested people again. I can’t wait until next year.”

PRISM Holds Its 8th Annual Symposium of Undergraduate Research

PRISM Symposium Highlights

Posters CISA recogroup picrd number of PRISM students (46) participated in this year’s 2015 Symposium on Wednesday, April 29. Projects for every interest and for every track were displayed.  This year’s Symposium showcased our growing population of computer science majors as well as two of our CUNY Justice Academy partner students who perform their research with mentors at Queensborough Community College.  Students impressed the guests with their research accomplishments and their ability to engage others when speaking about their work.  We were treated to a visit by Provost Bowers and President Travis, the latter of whom addressed students warmly and hailed their accomplishments.

After the poster session, there were two oral presentations: Yessenia Lopez, Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher and keynote speaker, Dr. Daniel Cocris.

Dr. Demi Cheng was thrilled to introduce her mentee, Yessenia Lopez, to kick off the presentations. Yessenia then showcased her research, “Manganese-Containing Dithiocarbamate Pesticides Increase B-Amyloid Precursor Protein and B-Amyloid Peptide Expression in PC-12 Cells.”  During her presentation, Yessenia gave the full story of her research journey, noting the significant impact of the deep mentoring she received from Dr. Cheng.

CocrisDr. Daniel Cocris then took over and inspired the audience by talking about his entire journey from leaving his home in Romania to finding his stride at John Jay performing research with Dr. Anthony Carpi.  Dr. Cocris spoke about the value of discovering his niche and his love of science, and about the labor involved to achieve his current success as a dentist.

 

Dr. Anthony Carpi served as the Master of Ceremonies at the PRISM Awards Ceremony, handing out certificatesHooding to all who participated and special awards to our speakers and poster winners.  This year PRISM honored its graduating seniors.  As theses titles were announced, mentors presented these students with PRISM stoles to be worn at graduation.

Awards Presented:

Recognition as Keynote Speaker:  Dr. Daniel Cocris

Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher: Yessenia Lopez

First Place – Poster Contest: Derek Sokolowski

Runners-Up – Poster Contest:  Karen Conrad, Richard Khusial, and Shawn Williams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more pictures from this event, please click here.

Congratulations to PRISM’s 2015 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher – Yessenia Lopez

P1000652Yessenia Lopez is this year’s honored recipient of PRISM’s Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award.  She joined the lab of Dr. Demi Cheng in June 2013 to pursue a project related to Alzheimer’s Disease, seeking to determine if the pesticides maneb (MB) and mancozeb (MZ) increase the expressions of β-amyloid precursor protein (AβPP) and β-amyloid peptide 42 (Aβ42). During her time in Dr. Cheng’s lab, Yessenia transformed from a science student into young scientist, showcasing her ability to think critically, work independently, and collaborate effectively.  In the words of her mentor, “She takes pride in her lab work, she gets truly excited about results, and the high quality of her research reflects this.” Yessenia has accepted an offer to participate in the competitive post-baccalaureate PREP program at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.  This is her next step on the way to pursuing her PhD and fulfilling her career goal to be an independent scientist.

American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors – Undergraduate Scholarship

The ASCLD’s annual scholarship solicitation is now open and accepting applications.  The annual award is in the amount of $1000 and the  due date (April 15) is quickly approaching.  The application can be found on the ASCLD website. A description of the scholarship can be found here.

Eligibility
Applicants must be a junior or senior in a baccalaureate program or a graduate student (masters or doctorate) at an accredited university who is pursuing a degree in forensic science, forensic chemistry, a physical or natural science.  Applicants from FEPAC accredited programs will be given additional consideration.  High school students or college/university students in their freshman or sophomore years will not be eligible for application.  As the scholarship program was created to provide opportunity to students intending to enter the forensic field, scholarships will not be granted to current forensic science laboratory employees pursing graduate degrees.

Selection criteria
Award recipients will be selected on the basis of:

  • Overall scholastic record
  • Scholastic record in forensic science coursework
  • Motivation or commitment to a forensic science career
  • Personal statement
  • Faculty/adviser recommendation

Application documentation

  • Application form
  • Transcripts
  • Personal statement of applicant
  • Recommendation of faculty member or lab director with knowledge of the applicant

Good Luck!

PRISM students accepted to multiple programs this summer and next year

As of fall 2014, 51 PRISM alumni reported gaining admission to graduate professional programs since 2006. This year three of our seniors join this group as they enter graduate and medical school programs:

 

Williams, ShawnShawn Williams (Mentor: Dr. Domashevskiy):

Molecular Biology, Cell Biology & Biochemistry PhD Program, Brown University

 

 

image1Tanya Napolitano (Mentors: Drs. Proni & Petraco):

College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences – Toxicology PhD Program, St. John’s Univerity

 

 

Reinfeld, SamSamuel Reinfeld (Mentor: Dr. Domashevskiy):

Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program (DO), NY College of Osteopathic Medicine

 

 

In addition, six PRISM juniors will be attending prestigious summer research programs with various universities and institutes this summer:

 

Fernandez, PorfirioPorfirio Fernandez (Mentor: Dr. Rauceo):

Leadership Alliance/Howard Hughes Medical Institute Summer Undergraduate Research Program, University of Miami

 

 

PROANO_DAYSI croppedDaysi Proano (Mentor: Dr. Svoronos – QCC):

Undergraduate Summer Research in Molecular Biophysics, Princeton University

 

 

Seo, JiwonJiwon Seo (Mentor: Dr. Cheng):

Summer Research Opportunities at Harvard (SROH) Program, Harvard University

 

 

Shillingford, Shanelle croppedShanelle Shillingford (Mentor: Dr. Proni):

2015 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows (SURF) Program, The Scripps Research Institute (California campus)

 

 

Williams, Desiree croppedDesiree Williams (Mentor: Dr. Li):

Summer Undergraduate Research Program, City University of New York

 

 

Duran, Lissette.croppedLisset Duran (Mentor: Dr. Lissette Delgado Cruzata):

Morocco Summer Research Program, National Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants

 

 

Good luck on your endeavors! We are very proud that you are all part of our PRISM family!

PRISM Undergraduate Research Symposium on April 29 – Join Us!

On Wednesday, April 29, PRISM will Celebrate Student Achievement, when all of our current students share their research accomplishments in a poster session from 3:30 – 4:45 p.m. in the Student Cafeteria, on the 2nd floor of John Jay’s New Building.

Everyone is welcome to attend the poster session.  Prospective PRISM students can get a preview of the research possibilities that await them.  Light refreshments will be served.

Email PRISM@jjay.cuny.edu to RSVP or to further inquire about this event or its additional sessions.

PRISM Welcomes Its Newest Members!

Fifteen new recruits are now part of our official PRISM family after having attended the Research Training Workshop (RTW) this past January 20-22.

RTW gang jan 2015

Our newest members are from left to right, above: Nithusha Mayakaduwage, Imani Hargett, Laura Duffy, Brianna Bell, Elmer Morales, Jia Wen Tan, Michael Wu, Zenab Khan, William Aguilar, Jeanine Day, Donovan Trinidad, Gerallynn Eusebio, Ronald Peralta, Khamattie Uzagir, and Brooke Nielsen.  Each trainee met and exceeded our minimum PRISM requirements as there was stiff competition this winter for our limited RTW spots.  Among the students were three members of the CUNY Justice Academy, our partner forensics students who originated at a CUNY community college.

DSC05383During this winter RTW, Professor Rauceo and Professor Roberts addressed PRISM expectations and the important of maturity and integrity when performing research.  Visiting speakers also included PRISM mentors (Champeil, Rosati, Delgado-Cruzata, and Brown) who briefed students on their lab’s projects and opened the door for these new students to inquire about open researcher spots.

DSC05450An important component of this and every RTW is the time that they spend in the lab, learning basic techniques related to solutions chemistry.  Prof. Rauceo and Prof. Roberts, along with lab tech, Karol Alvarez, closely supervise these activities, all the while assessing the students’ abilities, in addition to providing feedback about best practices and problem solving strategies.

PRISM coordinators Dr. Ed Sanabria-Valentin and Fran Jimenez met with students throughout the RTW to speak about PRISM policies, procedures, events, and opportunities for stipends and travel funding.  The new recruits were able to interact quite a bit with our veteran peer mentors, who were kind enough to share their best tips for choosing a mentor, time management, and do’s and don’ts of undergraduate research from a more relatable perspective.

We wish our new students a great deal of success as they get matched with a professor and embark on their undergraduate research careers!  Click here for more pictures from this training event.

12 PRISM students attend ABRCMS ’14 in San Antonio, TX

GroupThe 14th Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) was held in San Antonio, Texas earlier this month (November 12-15). Twelve PRISM students attended, presenting posters about their scientific research at John Jay. Three of these students (Yessenia Lopez, Porfirio Fernandez, and Jiwon Seo) received Travel Awards ABRCMSfrom the conference to defray the costs of their travels. Dr. Jason Rauceo and Dr. Garry Brown from the Science Department accompanied the students, as well as PRISM coordinator Dr. Edgardo Sanabria-Valentin.

ABRCMS is one of the largest undergraduate research conferences in the United States, with more than 1,700 students presenting their research in about twelve fields in biomedical sciences. Our students presented their work in diverse projects (chemistry, toxicology, cellular and molecular biology, environmental sciences, and microbiology), showcasing the diversity of scientific research being performed at John Jay.Stephania

To prepare for their presentation, PRISM organized “ABRCMS Boot Camp” the week before departing for Texas. Students got to practice their presentation skills in daily sessions helped by faculty members of the Science Department and the PRISM staff. They also got to learn about networking and perfected their “elevator pitch.” At the conference they attended sessions discussing the importance of science communication, how to prepare an application to graduate programs, the different types of graduate programs, and the importance of networking and other professional development events.

An account by Richard Khusial, senior Forensic Science major:

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The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowships

The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship seeks to attract talented, committed individuals with backgrounds in the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—into teaching in high-need secondary schools in Georgia,Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and New Jersey. Eligible applicants include current undergraduates, recent college graduates, mid-career professionals, and retirees who have majored in, or had careers in, STEM fields.

 

 

The Fellowship also works to change the way top teachers are prepared, partnering with colleges and universities that have agreed to provide Fellows with innovative, year-long classroom experiences, rigorous academic work, and ongoing mentoring.

The Teaching Fellowship includes:

  • admission to a master’s degree program at a partner university
  • preparation for teacher certification in science, mathematics or technology education
  • extensive preparation for teaching in a high-need urban or rural secondary school for one full year prior to becoming the teacher-of-record in a science or math classroom
  • a $30,000 stipend, with tuition arrangements varying by campus in Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and New Jersey. (Once Fellows are certified teachers at the end of the first year, they obtain salaried employment in high-need schools.)
  • support and mentoring throughout the three-year teaching commitment
  • support of a cohort of WW Fellows passionate about science and math education
  • lifelong membership in a national network of Woodrow Wilson Fellows who are intellectual leaders

There are two upcoming application deadlines – November 14, 2014 and January 31, 2015 (the final deadline).  For more information and to apply, please go to The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship website.